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Contrasting the well-described effects of early intervention (EI) services for youth-onset psychosis, the potential benefits of the intervention for adult-onset psychosis are uncertain. This paper aims to examine the effectiveness of EI on functioning and symptomatic improvement in adult-onset psychosis, and the optimal duration of the intervention.
360 psychosis patients aged 26–55 years were randomized to receive either standard care (SC, n = 120), or case management for two (2-year EI, n = 120) or 4 years (4-year EI, n = 120) in a 4-year rater-masked, parallel-group, superiority, randomized controlled trial of treatment effectiveness (Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00919620). Primary (i.e. social and occupational functioning) and secondary outcomes (i.e. positive and negative symptoms, and quality of life) were assessed at baseline, 6-month, and yearly for 4 years.
Compared with SC, patients with 4-year EI had better Role Functioning Scale (RFS) immediate [interaction estimate = 0.008, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.001–0.014, p = 0.02] and extended social network (interaction estimate = 0.011, 95% CI = 0.004–0.018, p = 0.003) scores. Specifically, these improvements were observed in the first 2 years. Compared with the 2-year EI group, the 4-year EI group had better RFS total (p = 0.01), immediate (p = 0.01), and extended social network (p = 0.05) scores at the fourth year. Meanwhile, the 4-year (p = 0.02) and 2-year EI (p = 0.004) group had less severe symptoms than the SC group at the first year.
Specialized EI treatment for psychosis patients aged 26–55 should be provided for at least the initial 2 years of illness. Further treatment up to 4 years confers little benefits in this age range over the course of the study.
Little is known about the effects of physical exercise on sleep-dependent consolidation of procedural memory in individuals with schizophrenia. We conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the effectiveness of physical exercise in improving this cognitive function in schizophrenia.
A three-arm parallel open-labeled RCT took place in a university hospital. Participants were randomized and allocated into either the high-intensity-interval-training group (HIIT), aerobic-endurance exercise group (AE), or psychoeducation group for 12 weeks, with three sessions per week. Seventy-nine individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorder were contacted and screened for their eligibility. A total of 51 were successfully recruited in the study. The primary outcome was sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation performance as measured by the finger-tapping motor sequence task (MST). Assessments were conducted during baseline and follow-up on week 12.
The MST performance scored significantly higher in the HIIT (n = 17) compared to the psychoeducation group (n = 18) after the week 12 intervention (p < 0.001). The performance differences between the AE (n = 16) and the psychoeducation (p = 0.057), and between the AE and the HIIT (p = 0.999) were not significant. Yet, both HIIT (p < 0.0001) and AE (p < 0.05) showed significant within-group post-intervention improvement.
Our results show that HIIT and AE were effective at reverting the defective sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation in individuals with schizophrenia. Moreover, HIIT had a more distinctive effect compared to the control group. These findings suggest that HIIT may be a more effective treatment to improve sleep-dependent memory functions in individuals with schizophrenia than AE alone.
Schizophrenia is a longstanding condition and most patients experience multiple relapse in the course of the condition. High expressed emotion (HEE) has been found to be a predictor of relapse. This meta-analysis and meta-regression examined the association of global EE and relapse specifically focusing on timing of relapse and EE domains.
Random-effects model was used to pool the effect estimates. Multiple random-effects meta-regression was used to compute the moderator analysis. Putative effect moderators including culture, EE measurements, age, length of condition and study quality were included.
Thirty-three prospective cohort studies comprising 2284 patients were included in the descriptive review and 30 studies were included for meta-analysis and meta-regression. Findings revealed that global HEE significantly predicted more on early relapse (⩽12 months) [OR 4.87 (95% CI 3.22–7.36)] than that on late relapse (>12 months) [OR 2.13 (95% CI 1.36–3.35)]. Higher level of critical comments (CC) significantly predicted relapse [OR 2.22 (95% CI 1.16–4.26)], whereas higher level of warmth significantly protected patients from relapse [OR 0.35 (95% CI 0.15–0.85)]. None of the moderators included significantly change the results.
These findings indicate that there is a dynamic interaction between EE-relapse association with time, and CC and warmth are the two important EE domains to influence relapse among patients with schizophrenia. Results also confirmed the foci of family interventions on reducing CC and improving warmth in relationship.
This study aimed to explore the impacts of COVID-19 outbreak on mental health status in general population in different affected areas in China.
This was a comparative study including two groups of participants: (1) general population in an online survey in Ya'an and Jingzhou cities during the COVID-19 outbreak from 10–20 February 2020; and (2) matching general population selected from the mental health survey in Ya'an in 2019 (from January to May 2019). General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), and Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS) were used.
There were 1775 participants (Ya'an in 2019 and 2020: 537 respectively; Jingzhou in 2020: 701). Participants in Ya'an had a significantly higher rate of general health problems (GHQ scores ⩾3) in 2020 (14.7%) than in 2019 (5.2%) (p < 0.001). Compared with Ya'an (8.0%), participants in Jingzhou in 2020 had a significantly higher rate of anxiety (SAS scores ⩾50, 24.1%) (p < 0.001). Participants in Ya'an in 2020 had a significantly higher rate of depression (SDS scores ⩾53, 55.3%) than in Jingzhou (16.3%) (p < 0.001). The risk factors of anxiety symptoms included female, number of family members (⩾6 persons), and frequent outdoor activities. The risk factors of depression symptoms included participants in Ya'an and uptake self-protective measures.
The prevalence of psychological symptoms has increased sharply in general population during the COVID-19 outbreak. People in COVID-19 severely affected areas may have higher scores of GHQ and anxiety symptoms. Culture-specific and individual-based psychosocial interventions should be developed for those in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Little is known about the trend and predictors of 21-year mortality and suicide patterns in persons with schizophrenia.
To explore the trend and predictors of 21-year mortality and suicide in persons with schizophrenia in rural China.
This longitudinal follow-up study included 510 persons with schizophrenia who were identified in a mental health survey of individuals (≥15 years old) in 1994 in six townships of Xinjin County, Chengdu, China, and followed up in three waves until 2015. Kaplan–Meier survival analysis and Cox hazard regressions were conducted.
Of the 510 participants, 196 died (38.4% mortality) between 1994 and 2015; 13.8% of the deaths (n = 27) were due to suicide. Life expectancy was lower for men than for women (50.6 v. 58.5 years). Males consistently showed higher rates of mortality and suicide than females. Older participants had higher mortality (hazard ratio HR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.01–1.05) but lower suicide rates (HR = 0.95, 95% CI 0.93–0.98) than their younger counterparts. Poor family attitudes were associated with all-cause mortality and death due to other causes; no previous hospital admission and a history of suicide attempts independently predicted death by suicide.
Our findings suggest there is a high mortality and suicide rate in persons with schizophrenia in rural China, with different predictive factors for mortality and suicide. It is important to develop culture-specific, demographically tailored and community-based mental healthcare and to strengthen family intervention to improve the long-term outcome of persons with schizophrenia.
The relationship between the subtypes of psychotic experiences (PEs) and common mental health symptoms remains unclear. The current study aims to establish the 12-month prevalence of PEs in a representative sample of community-dwelling Chinese population in Hong Kong and explore the relationship of types of PEs and common mental health symptoms.
This is a population-based two-phase household survey of Chinese population in Hong Kong aged 16–75 (N = 5719) conducted between 2010 and 2013 and a 2-year follow-up study of PEs positive subjects (N = 152). PEs were measured with Psychosis Screening Questionnaire (PSQ) and subjects who endorsed any item on the PSQ without a clinical diagnosis of psychotic disorder were considered as PE-positive. Types of PEs were characterized using a number of PEs (single v. multiple) and latent class analysis. All PE-positive subjects were assessed with common mental health symptoms and suicidal ideations at baseline and 2-year follow-up. PE status was also assessed at 2-year follow-up.
The 12-month prevalence of PEs in Hong Kong was 2.7% with 21.1% had multiple PEs. Three latent classes of PEs were identified: hallucination, paranoia and mixed. Multiple PEs and hallucination latent class of PEs were associated with higher levels of common mental health symptoms. PE persistent rate at 2-year follow-up was 15.1%. Multiple PEs was associated with poorer mental health at 2-year follow-up.
Results highlighted the transient and heterogeneous nature of PEs, and that multiple PEs and hallucination subtype of PEs may be specific indices of poorer common mental health.
Little is known about long-term employment outcomes for patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum (FES) disorders who received early intervention services.
We compared the 10-year employment trajectory of patients with FES who received early intervention services with those who received standard care. Factors differentiating the employment trajectories were explored.
Patients with FES (N = 145) who received early intervention services in Hong Kong between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2002 were matched with those who entered standard care 1 year previously. We used hierarchical clustering analysis to explore the 10-year employment clusters for both groups. We used the mixed model test to compare cluster memberships and piecewise regression analysis to compare the employment trajectories of the two groups.
There were significantly more patients who received the early intervention service in the good employment cluster (early intervention: N = 98 [67.6%]; standard care: N = 76 [52.4%]; P = 0.009). In the poor employment cluster, there was a significant difference in the longitudinal pattern between early intervention and standard care for years 1–5 (P < 0.0001). The number of relapses during the first 3 years, months of full-time employment during the first year and years of education were significant in differentiating the clusters of the early intervention group.
Results suggest there was an overall long-term benefit of early intervention services on employment. However, the benefit was not sustained for all patients. Personalisation of the duration of the early intervention service with a focus on relapse prevention and early vocational reintegration should be considered for service enhancement.
Cognitive impairment is a core feature of schizophrenia and has been observed in both familial (FHR) and clinical high-risk (CHR) samples. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of research directly contrasting cognitive profiles in these two high-risk states and first-episode schizophrenia. This study aimed to compare cognitive functions in patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum disorder (FES), their unaffected siblings (FHR), CHR individuals and healthy controls.
A standardized battery of cognitive assessments was administered to 69 FES patients, 71 help-seeking CHR individuals without family history of psychotic disorder, 50 FHR participants and 68 controls. FES and CHR participants were recruited from territory-wide early intervention service for psychosis in Hong Kong. CHR status was ascertained using Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State.
Among four groups, FES patients displayed the largest global cognitive impairment and had medium-to-large deficits across all cognitive tests relative to controls. CHR and FHR participants significantly underperformed in most cognitive tests than controls. Among various cognitive tests, digit symbol coding demonstrated the greatest magnitude of impairment in FES and CHR groups compared with controls. No significant difference between two high-risk groups was observed in global cognition and all individual cognitive tests except digit symbol coding which showed greater deficits in CHR than in FHR participants.
Clinical and familial risk groups experienced largely comparable cognitive impairment that was intermediate between FES and controls. Digit symbol coding may have the greatest discriminant capacity in distinguishing FES and CHR from healthy controls, and between two high-risk samples.
Evidence indicates that the positive effects of 2-year early intervention services for psychosis are not maintained after service withdrawal. Optimal duration of early intervention in sustaining initial improved outcomes remains to be determined.
To examine the sustainability of the positive effects of an extended, 3-year, early intervention programme for patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) after transition to standard care.
A total of 160 patients, who had received a 2-year early intervention programme for FEP, were enrolled to a 12-month randomised-controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01202357) comparing a 1-year extension of the early intervention (3-year specialised treatment) with step-down care (2-year specialised treatment). Participants were followed up and reassessed 2 and 3 years after inclusion to the trial.
There were no significant differences between the treatment groups in outcomes on functioning, symptom severity and service use during the post-trial follow-up period.
The therapeutic benefits achieved by the extended, 3-year early intervention were not sustainable after termination of the specialised service.
Numerous early intervention services targeting young people with
psychosis have been established, based on the premise that reducing
treatment delay and providing intensive treatment in the initial phase of
psychosis can improve long-term outcome.
To establish the effect of extending a specialised early intervention
treatment for first-episode psychosis by 1 year.
A randomised, single-blind controlled trial (NCT01202357) compared a
1-year extension of specialised early intervention with step-down care in
patients who had all received a 2-year intensive early intervention
programme for first-episode psychosis.
Patients receiving an additional year of specialised intervention had
better outcomes in functioning, negative and depressive symptoms and
treatment default rate than those managed by step-down psychiatric
Extending the period of specialised early intervention is clinically
desirable but may not be feasible in lower-income countries.